Although this post is not based on an article, I thought it would be interesting to comment on since it pertains directly to my field of interest and how social media plays such an integral part in every day life. On Friday of last week, ESPN’s Adam Schefter (@adamschefter) serves as the keynote speaker for The Penn Law Sports Law Symposium on campus. I was referred to the event by a colleague on campus and attended this particular session, and to my surprise, much of what Schefter spoke about was how social media affects his role on a daily basis.
It was interesting to hear his perspective, particularly on Twitter, as he noted that he both loves and hates it. The instantaneous information, he explained, is extremely positive and productive, but also can be negative at times. As someone that is relied upon to break noteworthy stories across the NFL and using Twitter as one of his platforms to share this information, Schefter works constantly with sources that he’s built with virtually every franchise to confirm rumors and stories as efficiently as possible, but also as accurately as possible. He noted numerous times within his speech that accuracy is the most important factor in breaking a story, and he would not hesitate to withhold information on a story before sharing with the public, because once it’s on social media, it’s out there forever.
Shefter also talked about how social media has impacted the NFL by allowing the fans to become more of a part of the game than ever before, by being able to communicate with their favorite (or sometimes least favorite) athletes or personalities on television, and how this again is both good and bad for the sport. He feels as though the general public, at times, crosses lines when communicating with these figures, to the point where Schefter has opted not to answer or even read direct tweets from anyone that he does not follow. His reasoning for this was a lack of time in being able to respond but also the difficulty in sorting out the positive messages from the negative ones.
One of the other main ideas that Shefter shared was his opinion on the use of social media in terms of sharing opinions over facts. He feels as though his role on social media does not include sharing his opinions, just facts, because in the end, not many people care about his opinion. He also noted that being a representative of ESPN and the NFL, having an opinion that turns out to be wrong would result in public ridicule. For instance, he shared an example about the most recent Super Bowl. When the Seahawks took a 10 point lead, he was moments away from tweeting something along the lines of, ‘Boy do the Seahawks miss Percy Harvin.’ This would have been a sarcastic post, saying that the Seahawks had a championship in hand after cutting ties with one of their best players during the regular season, a move that was highly controversial at the time. As we all know, the Patriots came back and won the game, so his tweet would’ve been returned in negative fashion.
Overall, I felt as though Schefter’s opinion on social media was that it’s needed to keep up, and he enjoys using it for breaking noteworthy news. He seemed a bit concerned as to which direction it ends up heading in at times, but overall, learning from these platforms is a part of every day life. It was very interesting to hear this coming from someone that relies so heavily on social media.